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KARL OTFRIED MULLER (1797-1840)

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 963 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KARL OTFRIED MULLER (1797-1840), German scholar, was born at Brieg in Silesia on the 28th of August 1797. He was educated partly in Breslau, partly in Berlin, where his enthusiasm for the study of Greek literature, art and history was fostered by the influence of Bockh. In 1817, after the publication of his first work, Aegineticorum liber, he received an appointment at the Magdaleneum in Breslau, and in 1819 he was made adjunct professor of ancient literature in the university of Gottingen, his subject being the archaeology and history of ancient art. His aim was to form a vivid conception of Greek life as a whole; and his books and lectures marked an epoch in the development of Hellenic studies. Miller's position at Gottingen being rendered unpleasant by the political troubles which followed the accession of Ernest Augustus (duke of Cumber-land) to the throne of Hanover in 1837, he applied for permission to travel; and in 1839 he left Germany. In April of the following year he reached Greece, having spent the winter in Italy. He investigated the remains of ancient Athens, visited many places of interest in Peloponnesus, and finally went to Delphi, where he began excavations. He was attacked by intermittent fever, of which he died at Athens on the 1st of August 184o. Among his historical works the foremost place belongs to his Geschichten hellenischer Stdmme and State: Orchomenos und die Minyer (182o), and Die Dorier (1824; Eng. trans. by H. Tufnell and Cornewall Lewis, 183o, including the essay Ober die Makedonier, on the settlements, origin and early history of the Macedonians). He introduced a new standard of accuracy in the cartography of ancient Greece. In 1828 he published Die Etrusker, a treatise on Etruscan antiquities. His Prolegomena zu einer wissenschaftlichen Mythologie (1825; Eng. trans., J. Leitch, 1844), in which he avoided the extreme views of G. F. Creuzer and C. A. Lobeck, prepared the way for the scientific investigation of myths; while the study of ancient art was promoted by his Handbuch der Arciidologie der Kunst (1830; Eng. trans., J. Leitch, 1847), and Denkmdler der alien Kunst (1832), which he wrote in association with C Osterley. In 184o appeared in England his History of ih: Iuerature of Ancient Greece; the original German work from which had been translated being issued in Germany in 1841 (4th ed. by E. Heitz, 1882). Chapters i.–xxii. were translated by Sir George Cornewall Lewis; chapters xxiii.–xxxvi. by J. W. Donaldson, who carried the work down to the taking of Constantinople by the Turks. It is still one of the best books on the subject. Muller also published an admirable translation of the Eumenides of Aeschylus with introductory essays (1833), and new editions of Varro (1833) and Festu: (1839). See memoir of his life by his brother Eduard, prefixed to the posthumous edition of K. 0. Miller's Kleine deutsche Schriften (1847); F. Lucke, Erinnerungen an K. 0. Muller (Gottin en, 1841); F. Ranke, K. O. Muller, ein Lebensbild (Berlin, 1870; C. Bursian, Geschichte der klassischen Philologie in Deutschland (1883), ii. xoo7–1028; C. Dilthey, Otfried Muller (Gottingen, 1898); E. Curtius, Altertum and Gegenwart; and J. W. Donaldson's essay On the Life and Writings of Karl Otfried Muller in vol. i. of the English translation of the history of Greek literature. A biography composed from his letters was published by O. and E. Kern, K. 0. Muller, Lebensbild in Briefen an seine Eltern (1908); see also J. E. Sandys, Hist. of Classical Scholarship, iii. (1908), 213-216.
End of Article: KARL OTFRIED MULLER (1797-1840)
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